Franklin City Leaders To Vote On First Property Tax Hike In Nearly 30 Years
By Chris Cannon
FRANKLIN, Tenn. - Franklin's Board of Mayor and Alderman will vote Tuesday night on something that has not come before the governing body in nearly three decades.
There is a proposal to raise the city property tax rate by 3 cents-- the first proposed tax hike for city property owners since 1987, despite tremendous growth in Franklin.
"I remember when the population was 4,000 and I thought we'd never have another person come. It was 4,000 year, after year, after year. And suddenly we are now at 68,000," explained 4th Ward Alderman Margaret Martin.
City leaders said they need increased revenue to pay for improvements such as roads, paving and other city-funded projects.
"As long as people want improvements, and want the quality of life to stay the same, we got to have the money," Martin said.
The Alderman was the person who recommended to her fellow city leaders the exploration of a possible property tax increase.
"Nobody wants to say, we need a tax increase. Somehow, that's ugly," Martin said.
Alderman will vote on a 3 cent city property tax increase, which would raise the rate to 40 cents per $100 of assessed value. For a $350,000 home, that would be a yearly increase of $105.
"You always say, I oppose that," said resident Frank Blackwood about the possibility of higher city property taxes.
But Blackwood, and many of his neighbors agree: the increase may be a small price to pay considering how much Franklin has grown over the years.
"Since there have been so many, much needed construction projects in Franklin, in the last few years, I have no objections. I think the increase is probably justified and reasonable," Blackwood said.
Alderman Martin said she does not expect there to be much debate about the possibility of raising the city's property tax rate.
"When you have low taxes, and you're still going to be low, I can't see any reason to object to it," according to Martin.
Even with an increase, Franklin would still have the lowest property tax rate in Williamson County, and the lowest rate in the State of Tennessee for a city larger than 25,000.
The Board of Mayor and Alderman will meet Tuesday at 7 p.m. for the first of three votes on the proposed property tax increase.
In his State of the City address last week, Mayor Ken Moore said the increase was needed.
“The parallel I like to draw is what we do as families,” he said. “We start saving for future needs as we identify them. We invest in our homes so they’ll hold their value. The board will be considering these possibilities over the coming weeks. We need to get closer to paying as you go and cut up those credit cards, and start using the layaway plan.”
Speaking to the crowd at the Factory in Franklin, he highlighted existing road projects that were nearly completed and talked about the "positives" of the recent tax increase.
"Even with this 3 cent increase we will remain the lowest municipal property tax rate for cities of about 25,000 people in Tennessee,” Mayor Moore said.